Chicago Cubs: Pitching could be this team’s biggest strength in 2018
St. Louis headliner – and a lot of Cubs
Figure 6: Starting Pitcher Comparison – with Names
Going into this, I expected the Cubs to grade out well as a unit. But this level of advantage is admittedly stunning. Granted, FIP/ERA (and to a lesser extent BABIP) show a regression is possible. But one should also recognize that regression for all four could still land them at or near the top of the list.
Other factors at play here
Also noteworthy – the top name on this list, Alex Reyes, is recovering from surgery and may not be ready to open the season. Potentially, May or June. And, when he does return, he may pitch out of the bullpen – according to MLB.com.
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Beyond the Cubs being so well represented at the top of this list, notice the Cardinals have five players listed here. This speaks to their upside and historic consistency, and again, stands up to rational thought. It should be noted that Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers and Chicago’s Drew Smyly, though injured, were included in the assessment but neither fell within the top 12.
Rather than draw further conclusions at this point, let’s present the total season WAR predicted for each team, based on 162 games and balancing the starts across the constellation of likely 2018 rotation pieces. This process took into account the injured starters and prorated their likely starts against what has been reported (in regards to their eventual availability) through various outlets.